Hello everyone! Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy reporting for duty. But you can call me “Murph” or “Murphy.” I am named after a true American hero and am proud that the Murphy family has allowed me to use such an important name. I intend to work very hard to ensure my namesake would be very proud of me. While I am not sure exactly what a Hero Dog does, I’ve been told that someday I’ll be matched with my own veteran partner and I’ll need to be big and strong and well trained. I’m well on my way to being big and strong since I’m already 28 lbs and only 15 weeks old. I’ll spend the next two years or so becoming well-trained.
Late in February, I moved in with my puppy raiser family. I already knew what to expect of Jamie, Brent, and their dog, Java, since I spent some time with Hero Dogs Grant and they raised him. Grant was right – I won Brent and Jamie over right away but it took a little longer with Java. Now, she and I are best buddies too.
Would you believe that on the second day with my new family, we drove all the way to Florida? That was a very long drive but Jamie told me she was impressed with how well I handled such a long day. She quietly told me I complained less than Brent. Florida is fun! It was warm and the house had a pool!
In Florida, we did lots of training. We went to some restaurants where I was on my best behavior. I am proud of my special vest (although it does itch a little). One day we visited the Armed Forces Resort at Disney World called Shades of Green. That was fun and a lot of work. I think I met a zillion people and did pretty well greeting all of them. Some of them were dressed as little Disney princesses. I saw real ducks and turkeys for the first time. However, none of them wanted to be my friend no matter how hard I tried.
Brent said that since I was named after a famous Navy SEAL, I needed to do SEAL training in addition to my Hero Dog training. So we went on several long hikes. But we always took time to meet people and smell all the great smells. He also said SEALs need to be excellent swimmers, so he took me in the water for the first time. To be honest, I was a little scared. But as long as he held onto me I was OK and actually started to enjoy it. My favorite part of swimming was going to Jamie afterwards and being hugged in a big warm towel.
When we returned from Florida (after another long drive), there was a package waiting for me on the doorstep. It was from the LT Michael Murphy Foundation. They sent me cool patches for my vest that say “Murph the Protector.” I like that name. They also sent me a special coin they call a “challenge coin.” Brent said that was so special that Hero Dogs should have it.
I’ve attended one session of Puppy Kindergarten and enjoyed it – particularly the play time. My training is progressing well and I already come when I hear my name and I know SIT and TOUCH. Jamie and I have been working on DOWN a lot but I don’t understand that one yet. I’ll get it soon. The other thing they are trying to train me on is going potty outside! Ridiculous! Don’t they not know how cold it is outside?
So I am off and running on this big journey. I want to thank Boyntons’ Labradors for allowing me this opportunity. I also want to thank Carlyn and Jeff Weaver for being my sponsors. I’m not really sure what that means, but Brent tells me they provided all the fun toys I’m already playing with as well as everything else I need to be a service dog. And, again, I want to say thank you to the Murphy family for allowing me to have such an important name. I intend to do my best to make you all very proud of me.